1.) Making it
public (i.e., "real" in everyone else's eyes)
A major magazine
declaring your love in front of friends and family in a
formal ceremony, and then signing a marriage license that
legally seals the deal can make your twosome feel
To be more blunt?
"It's harder to
leave if everyone you know identifies you as being part of a
As Andrew Cherlin
wrote in The New York Times,
become a status symbol - a highly regarded marker of a
successful personal life. This transformed meaning is
evident in… same-sex marriage cases...
in part, the assumption that marriage represents not only a
bundle of rights but also a privileged position."
But the dark side to
"People marry to
show their family and friends how well their lives are
going, even if deep down they are unsure whether their
partnership will last a lifetime."
Our desire for
acceptance - and respect - within society runs that deep.
As Robert Cialdini wrote in Influence, "social proof" is
one of the six most
powerful influencers, and,
"People will do
things that they see other people are doing."
We want what others
have. Because it secures our status in society. Does this make
us happier? Yes and no. We value safety.
But we also need
commitment from our partner
Major publications have
contract puts a protective shell around your relationship
that… gives couples a sense of security that they'll stay
together no matter what."
Some argue it's the
"Using the terms
'husband' and 'wife' often causes people to think of each
other in a more permanent,
Some even go so far
as to say,
hitched, you can sit back and feel content that you've
reached that hope of a lifelong, satisfying, loving
But guys, that's not
how this works. That's not how any of this works.
As William Berry
wrote in Psychology Today,
why you really want to get married is:
illusionary) feeling of security is enhanced by the legal
binding of one to another. It makes it more difficult to
leave, and thereby relates to possessing.
In short, we want
to marry so we can hold onto one another."
If people were
honest, they'd admit that when they talk about "love" in terms
of "forever," they're really talking about fear and actually
"I don't want to
But there are two
problems with this:
be broken, so they're a false sense of security. We
don't control other people.
becomes comfort, and
comfort makes us lazy.
And because relationships take work, "getting lazy" is a
huge driver for many top reasons
Now, plenty of people
argue that they know this ("of
course relationships take work!!")
So I'll ask,
Then why the
Who don't you
trust - yourself or your partner?
I'd rather leave the
door wide open for my partner than hold him legally obligated to
stay. When I kiss him each morning, I want to know he's there
because he wants to be.
And I want to work
This one's valid. And backed by research.
We love things
more after we call them 'ours'...
As Daniel Gilbert
Stumbling on Happiness,
evaluate kitchen applies appliances more positively after
they buy them, job seekers evaluate jobs more positively
after they accept them, and high school students evaluate
colleges more positively after they get into them.
gamblers evaluate their horses more positively when they are
leaving the betting window than when they are approaching
it, and voters evaluate their candidates more positively
when they are exiting the voting booth than when they are
A toaster, a
firm, a university, a horse, and a senator are all just fine
and dandy, but when they become our toaster, firm,
university, horse and senator they are instantly finer and
Which is probably why
wedding days are often,
days of our lives."
It's not about having
married "The One," but having married...
And we don't just feel this immediately after a commitment.
Rather, we'll keep it up as long as we can. People have a strong
continue doing what they've
As Robert B. Cialdini wrote in Influence,
"If people commit
to something orally or in writing, they are more likely to
honor that commitment because of establishing that idea or
goal as being congruent with their self-image.
Even if the
original incentive or motivation is removed after they have
already agreed, they will continue to honor the agreement."
And given our deep
"We all fool
ourselves from time to time in order to keep our thoughts
and beliefs consistent with what we have already done or
But it still begs the
does this have to
As I've told my partner,
"I don't need
your permission to commit to you."
Just like I didn't
need a label before moving in.
Taken to extremes, this can of course become an issue of
self-respect. But all things considered, we can commit alone.
Finalizing our (own) commitment
This is valid too.
We all think we value freedom more than commitment,
but in fact the opposite is true.
one study, photography students
were told they could keep one of their photographs. One group
was told that once they chose, they couldn't change their minds.
The other group was told that they could swap their choice at
Later, both groups were asked how much they liked their
Results showed that
the students who could change (or "escape") their decision liked
their photograph less than the students whose decision was
We're happier with finality.